Vanderbilt basketball earned its third commitment for 2015 on Wednesday when Texas center D'Jery Baptiste decided to follow his AAU teammate Damian Jones to Nashville. Baptiste is a 6'11", 245 pound athlete who earned four-star status and is currently ranked as the 22nd best center in his class from ESPN.
Baptiste has only been playing basketball since 2010. He picked up the game after emigrating to the United States from his native Haiti. That means that he'll be a raw talent on both ends of the floor, but a quick look at his highlight reel shows that he has the physical tools and defensive instincts to step on the court at Memorial Gym today without looking out of place. Additionally, Baptiste looks like he eats wrought iron for breakfast and could deadlift a Volvo:
Kevin Stallings picked up a raw, physically gifted center with strong defensive fundamentals that he'll have to mold into an offensive threat around the rim. That certainly sounds familiar for Commodore fans. Comparing Baptiste to Festus Ezeli, one of the best centers in Vanderbilt history, may be a bit of a stretch for the 17-year-old, it's tough not to get excited about his potential after watching Ezeli grow from an awkward man-child into a dominating post presence.
If current commitments and roster situations hold, here's what Stallings and the Commodores could be working with in 2015-16:
That leaves the 'Dores with one more scholarship to offer for 2015-2016. Getting Baptiste will help address this team's lack of depth up front, but Stallings could use another big man to safeguard against injuries and foul trouble. Vandy has several uncommitted targets out there in the recruiting class of 2015, including four-star Massachusetts big man Josh Sharma.